Dictionary: PEST – PET'A-LOID

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PEST, n. [Fr. peste; L. pestis; It. peste, whence appestare, to infect or corrupt, Sp. apestar. These words may be allied to the Heb. Ch. Syr and Eth. באש, to be fetid, Ar. to beat or throw down, or to a verb of that family. The primary sense is probably to strike or beat, hence a stroke. See Class Bs, No. 25, 39, 48.]

  1. Plague; pestilence; a fatal epidemic disease. Let fierce Achilles / The god propitiate, and the pest assuage. – Pope.
  2. Any thing very noxious, mischievous or destructive. The talebearer, the gambler, the libertine, the drunkard, are pests to society. Of all virtues, justice is the best; / Valor without it is a common pest. – Waller.

PES'TER, v.t. [Fr. pester.]

  1. To trouble; to disturb; to annoy; to harass with little vexations. We are pestered with mice and rats. – More. A multitude of scribblers daily pester the world with their insufferable stuff. – Dryden.
  2. To encumber. – Milton.


Troubled; disturbed; annoyed.


One that troubles or harasses with vexation.


Troubling; disturbing.


Encumbering; burdensome. [Little used.] – Bacon.


A house or hospital for persons infected with any contagious and mortal disease.

PEST'I-DUCT, n. [L. pestis and duco.]

That which conveys contagion or infections.

PEST-IF'ER-OUS, a. [L. pestis, plague, and fero, to produce.]

  1. Pestilential; noxious to health; malignant; infectious; contagious. – Arbuthnot.
  2. Noxious to peace, to morals or to society; mischievous; destructive.
  3. Troublesome; vexatious. – Shak.


Pestilentially; noxiously.

PEST'I-LENCE, n. [L. pestilentia, from pestilens; pestis, plague.]

  1. Plague, appropriately so called; but in a general sense, any contagious or infectious disease that is epidemic and mortal. – Shak.
  2. Corruption or moral disease destructive to happiness. Profligate habits carry pestilence into the bosom of domestic society. – J. M. Mason.

PEST'I-LENT, a. [L. pestilens, from pestis, plague.]

  1. Producing the plague, or other malignant, contagious disease; noxious to health and life; as, a pestilent air or climate. – Bacon.
  2. Mischievous; noxious to morals or society, destructive; in a general sense; as, pestilent books.
  3. Troublesome; mischievous; making disturbance; corrupt; as, a pestilent fellow. – Acts xxiv.


  1. Partaking of the nature of the plague or other infectious disease; as, a pestilential fever.
  2. Producing or tending to produce infectious disease; as, pestilential vapors.
  3. Mischievous; destructive; pernicious. – South.


Mischievously; destructively.

PEST-IL-LA'TION, n. [from L. pistillum, Eng. pestle.]

The act of pounding and bruising to a mortar. [Little used.] – Brown.

PES-TLE, n. [pes'tl; L. pistillum, and probably pinso, for piso, to pound or beat; Sw. piska, to strike. See Pest.]

An instrument for pounding and breaking substances in a mortar. – Locke. Pestle of pork, a gammon of bacon. – Ainsworth.

PET, n.1 [This word may be contracted from petulant, or belong to the root of that word. Peevish, which is evidently a contracted word, may be from the same root.]

A slight fit of peevishness or fretful discontent. Life given for noble purposes must not be thrown away in a pet, nor whined away in love. – Collier.

PET, n.2 [formerly peat; Qu. W. pêth, a little; pêthan, a babe or little thing; D. bout, a duck or dear; Ir. baidh, love; L. peto, or Gr. ποθος, ποθεω. In Pers. بَتْ bat, is an idol, a dear friend, a mistress. In Russ. pitayu signifies to feed, nourish or bring up. The real origin of the word is doubtful.]

  1. A cade lamb; a lamb brought up by hand.
  2. A fondling; any little animal fondled and indulged.

PET, v.t.

To treat as a pet; to fondle; to indulge.

PET'AL, n. [Fr. petale; Gr. πεταλον, from πεταω, to expand, L. pateo. Class Bd, No. 65, &c.]

In botany, a flower leaf; the separate parts of a corol. When a corol consists of but one piece, it is said to be monopetalous, when of two pieces, dipetalous, &c.


Having petals; as, a petaled flower; opposed to apetalous. This word is much used in compounds; as, one petaled; three-petaled.


Pertaining to a petal; attached to a petal; as, a petaline nectary. – Barton.

PET'AL-ISM, n. [Gr. πεταλισμος. See Petal.]

A form of sentence among the ancient Syracusans, by which they proscribed a citizen whose wealth or popularity alarmed their jealousy, or who was suspected of aspiring to sovereign power; temporary proscription, or banishment for five years. The mode was to give their votes by writing his name on a leaf. Petalism in Syracuse answered to ostracism in Athens. – Encyc. Cyc.

PET'AL-ITE, n. [Gr. πεταλον, a leaf.]

A rare mineral occurring in masses, having a foliated structure; its color milk white or shaded with gray, red or green. The alkali, lithia, was first discovered in this mineral. – Cleaveland.

PET'A-LOID, a. [petal and Gr. ειδος, form.]

Having the form of a petal. – Barton. Rafinesque.